Coronavirus : The Global Picture & Where Ghana stands :
Comrades, the coronavirus poses a reactive national emergency for Ghana as it has for many countries around the world. The havoc caused by the COVID-19 has crossed borders of many nations, and it’s doing so at a very unpredictable pace. The world was taken by surprise and still remains in shock. The statistics are simply alarming, and the more we see the headlines in the dailies and at the crawls of our screens, we fear for our lives and those of our comrades outside this country. 80,000 cases of the corona outbreak have been recorded globally, out of which over 2,700 lives have been lost. 1000 of these infection cases have occurred outside China’s mainland. Italy is one of the recent countries to record the outbreak, affecting some 400 people, out of which 12 people are dead. Just this midnight, Brazil has become one of the many debutants of the disease. In South Korea, 11 people have died as at yesterday Wednesday. Iran is mourning 19 lives and struggling to treat 139 others who were painfully infected by the virus. The US, India, Austria and Belgium havent been speared either. Pakistan, North Macedonia, Greece, Algeria, Norway, Romania, just to mention but a few, have all been taken by surprise by the COVID 19 within 24 hours.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the disease has forced many diplomatic actions from countries around the world. The recent one was this midnight – Qatar has ordered for the evacuation of its citizens from Iran. The USA in the coming days will declare its own emergency response to the epidermic as Vice president Mike Pence is reported to leading the campaign. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of US continues to warn that the virus may spread in US communities. Iraq has banned public gatherings indefinitely while Iran has canceled all domestic flights. And even before the World Health Organization (WHO) is considering declaring the situation out of control, the situation can be liken to a pandemic already.
Sadly, there is still no cure, there is no vaccine for the COVID 19, and there is no specific medicine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The closest the world has come to a remedy is a clinical trial ongoing in US.
Report on our brothers and sisters in China & Gov’t’s Response :
Comrades, China continues to be a worry for us Ghanaians. It has become a worry even more when Aljazeera and other international media have reported that parts of the country have lowered their emergency response level due to the fact that the number of new cases is slowing down. What happened to the unpredictable nature of the disease ?
Ladies and Gentlemen, as the leader of the student movement, for the past two weeks, I have been very restless even at night. Our colleague China Executives haven’t slept peacefully either. We have had many conference calls to stay abreast with the situation in Hubei and neighbouring provinces. We have also established direct contacts with some of our comrades and students there. Our conversations were normally with panic, as some of our nationals cried they wanted to come home. Infact, we wished they weren’t trapped in the first place.
In the midst of these ladies and gentlemen, we have met with government and the ministry of foreign affairs a couple of times to assess the chances of evacuation. But from all indications and from medical and technical advise, our seemingly poor containment emergency health system as a country, could fail us and invite doom onto us, should we go the way of countries like Qatar. Though I wished my brother could come home, I would also be concerned about the lives of my 3 three other sisters, that of my mum and dad who live with me here. The could be victims of Ghana’s weak health system. The next option has been to mitigate their plight over there. Whilst NUGS continues to closely monitor government’s decision to provide an atmosphere of comfort, healthy and nutritious living for our brothers and sisters in China, the China Embassy in Ghana have also given our country their word of utmost security for our colleagues abroad. We hope and pray our Chinese counterparts keep to their word , knowing that in such volatile times, many people use it as an opportunity to violate the rights, freedoms and dignity of foreigners. We appeal to the Chinese government to keep to this public promise.
- Furthermore, we can report that in collaboration with NUGS China, we have supervised and closely followed the distribution of the monetary allocation to our brothers and sisters by GoG with the aim providing materially for them. There about 344 students in the Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei which is the epicenter for the virus when it was first discovered.
- It is a relief to report that about 99 percent of our brothers and sisters have been paid their allocations to aid them stay comfortable at least for a while.
- We have also observed foodstuff sent them as they stay indoors with some awaiting to re-open school while others already taking online classes.
- We can confidently report, no Ghanaian student in China is under any conditions which may cause us to worry. Also to acknowledged the team of counsellors and psychologists allotted to help students in distress.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this point, I believe it’s in order to thank our NUGS Executives, China branch, lead by …………..for working so hard and cooperating with us and the Ghanaian media to keep our young citizens safe in China as well as get a true picture on the grounds. But please keep on until we win the fight against COVID-19
Call on Government for a more robust and coordinated response system :
Ladies and Gentlemen, you could liken what our sisters and brothers are going through in China to being stuck amid the devil and the deep blue sea. They may not be able to come back home because anything could happen on their way from one province to another, neither will they be safe should the virus keep spreading between provinces. Therefore it is important to note that food, water, clothing and money are just one aspect of making them feel safe and secure.
- Government draft a more comprehensive strategy to show a more consistent concern about their plight. Gov’t must map up weekly surveillance on the Ghanaian student community in China just as the Chinese Govt is doing daily by checking for their vitals. The Ghanaian Embassy or diplomatic missions should be in a position to go into the affected places to take surveillance responsibilities . It is simply not enough to say because they have food,water and protective gears, they’re safe.
- We therefore propose ( among other communication framework ), a joint situational report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service, is issued to the media through a press encounter like this or published in order to keep relevant research institutions and bodies abreast with the current status of Ghanaian nationals abroad. We urged them to collaborate with embassies in these countries in order to have accurate data on how Ghanaians are healthy there. Just as we the student leaders have corresponded to bring you this update, it shouldn’t be difficult for the state to do same with relevant international bodies, rather than waiting for a surprise before we react as usual.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, until a cure is found or the situation is brought under control, Ghana shouldnt go to sleep. Our health bodies must be up and doing , and not reactionary to the deadly virus. As we have all seen many nations with best of health facilities are coming down to their knees due to the CODVID19
- We also urge the state to consider extending the support system to all students in China and not only the Hubei province. We still have students who due to the outbreak have been practically starving and would need an urgent intervention from his or her home government. We know some of these privileges are largely exclusive to those under GoG scholarship or supervision, but in these critical times, any student who is lost to the epidermic is a first a Ghanaian before a public or private student.
- Our final call on the COVID 19, is the urgent call for our aviation securities to be beefed up with requisite facilities to detect any suspected case. The Custom Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and our Immigration should tighten our security systems in order not to end up glossing over any potential danger that the disease may have on Ghana. Our plea as youths of this country is our water, land and air should be territorially fortified, just us some 11 countries across the Middle East have commenced. Moreso because, we have become very prone even from far-lands where the virus is spreading.